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Shark activity brings tourists to Cape beaches where they swim cautiously

Cape Cod beachgoers warned about sharks
Cape Cod beachgoers warned about sharks 02:40

CHATHAM - It's the perfect beach day in Chatham for the Longo family of Syracuse New York, but amid shark warnings it's not a vacation for swimming in the ocean. "Maybe our feet.  I always enjoy the water, but I take the warnings seriously," said Jason Longo. 

Educating the public about the great whites is what the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy is all about. Tourists are being drawn to Cape Cod towns like Chatham because of the shark activity. 

"They do generate feelings for folks whether it's fear or excitement they draw curiosity," said Marianne Walsh, the group's education director.

Six beaches now have Shark Smart programs set up to answer immediate questions. Lifeguards can now use a sharktivity app which alerts them to sightings.

As researchers continue to tag and follow the sharks they're trying to fine tune their patterns.

"We're now trying to drill deeper to get a sense of those times and days when sharks are more likely to be in this area," said shark biologist Greg Skomal.

Skomal says the presence of great whites so far this year is on a par with last year, starting to show up in mid-May and now ramping up in June with one spotted Tuesday in Truro. They stay in more shallow waters as they hunt for seals which are their food source. 

"They're essentially waiting for a seal to get sloppy and come out and make a mistake.  It's a game of cat and mouse," said Megan Winton, a research scientist with the Conservancy. 

It's the kind of game that has caught the public's attention for their curiosity and their safety.  "I would probably put my toes in that's it.  I would not like my kids swimming in the water right now," said Nicole Fach of Cleveland, Ohio.

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